NHLANGANO :A large number of unemployed youth are marketing themselves to older women to become their sexual partners as the economic situation increases the already high unemployment rate.
In the midst of the high unemployment rate, the Times of Swaziland has provided a platform for youth members to market themselves and connect with 'sugar mamas'(older women) who normally spoil young boys with money and other goodies in return for sexual satisfaction. The newspaper connects these maturing young boys with older women through a 'Love Column' where their particulars including; contact details, and the sexual services they want to offer are published. The Column has proven to be popular among members of the youth who are promoting themselves to older women proposing to satisfy them sexually. Martin Dlamini, the Managing Editor of the Times of Swaziland did not respond to our questionnaire when asked to clarify if the column will not contribute to high HIV infections among the youth. The editor was also asked whether as a newspaper they educate those who are searching for love regarding risks of human trafficking. But Government through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs confirmed that most young people become vulnerable after leaving school, this has contributed to the high unemployment rate. Sibongiseni Zondi, the Ministry's Public Relations Officer (PRO) said, they believe it was for this reason they want intimate relations with older women. "Yes we do have a high unemployment rate in Eswatini. Most of the young people become vulnerable after leaving school, hence, we have a situation whereby they want such intimate relationships," said the PRO. The Youth Ministry's Spokesperson further mentioned that, as government they were working towards addressing this matter by providing financial resources to the youth to establish businesses. He said as this matter of young boys dating older women was likely to undermine the country's efforts of ending HIV infection, they had a program to train the youth on prevention. "We are working on this matter of high unemployment in the country among the youth by providing financial resources for them to establish businesses. As this issue of young men dating older women remains a threat in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we also train them on prevention," he said. A 20-year old man from Manzini who preferred to be called Ndumiso said he could date any woman who can provide him with money. "Even if she is 60 years old and HIV positive, that's not a problem for me as long as I can put food on the table.
What is the difference from what we are doing as opposed to these young girls in South Africa who get E400.00 monthly just for falling pregnant and giving birth? These old women have money, I want money!" said the young man. A young man whose particulars were published on the 'Love Column' wrote: "I am a young handsome man who is aged 25 years. I am in search of an appealing sugar-mama who is aged between 30 to 50 years, she should be ready to have fun. She could be between Manzini and Mbabane. Come mama Let me be your sweet boy!". This revelation comes as the world was applauding Eswatini for its efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS. On or around 28 November 2017, the United Nations AIDS Program (UNAIDS) Coordinating Board met the government of Eswatini to discuss the country's progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In a report published on its website, UNAIDS said the delegation engaged with civil society and youth groups to discuss disclosure of HIV status with them. "The delegation engaged with representatives of civil society organizations and youth groups, and discussed disclosure of HIV status with them, hearing about the difficulties in disclosure, particularly for young people. The increasing but still quite low levels of reporting of sexual and gender based violence and the importance of providing the types of flavored condoms that appeals to young people were also discussed, as was the difficulty in funding the critical prevention work of civil society," reads the UNAIDS report in part. Reached for comments, Minister of Health and Social Welfare Lizzy Nkosi said as a Ministry they discourage such relationships because they remain a threat in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "We discourage it from being practiced by both young boys and girls. Boys should desist from dating older women and young girls should avoid dating older men. You know in every relationship the older partner will always have power. We understand that these youth are frustrated, they want money but we discourage this," she said. Bishop Samson Hlatswako, the President of the League of Churches said he was aware that the youth are dating older women these days, he said this was against Christian values.
"I am aware that we have so many young men who have intimate relationships with older women. This is disgusting! How can you marry or have sex with a woman who is the same age as your mother?" he wondered. Hlatswako said relationships whose foundation were based on money cannot be sustainable.?"Christians must refrain from such intimate relationships. Money is not the answer for long lasting relationships. In short, that affair would not last because it's foundation would be money" he said.